KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 8, 2001 -- The University of Rhode Island will host an open arboretum this week sort of like an open house to show off its more than 50 varieties of flowering crabapple trees at the URI Flowering Crabapple Research Plantation. Located at East Farm in Kingston, the arboretum will be open to the general public during the trees peak blooming period, which runs through Sunday, May 13. Visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The URI trees arent just any old crabapples. All have been selected to be resistant to apple scab, a common fungus known to defoliate crabapple trees by mid-summer. The trees also have another trait guaranteed to keep homeowners shoes clean the trees dont drop their fruit.
"These crabapple trees are a tree for all seasons. They are beautiful when they blossom in spring, they have colorful fruit in the summer, and when their leaves change color in the fall, the fruit color changes too," said Larry Englander, URI associate professor of plant pathology, who oversees the test site.
Most of the trees were planted in 1983 by the late Lester Nichols, a URI plant pathologist, but several newer varieties are also being tested. All the trees are labeled for easy identification.
The trees come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. "We have pillar, pyramid, lollipop, spreading, weeping, and shrub-like varieties, just to name a few," noted Englander.
Tours of the field are self-guided. Visitors can pick up brochures and data sheets in the black mailbox labeled "Crabs" at the entrance to the orchard.
The trees are not for sale. "The University evaluates these trees under local conditions and opens the study area for individuals to see and study. They are clean, attractive, care-free, and not prone to diseases that so often strip older varieties of their beauty," said Englander. "People can see what they like, jot down the name, and visit their local garden center to purchase one."
For more information about crabapple trees, call the URI gardening hotline at 1-800-448-1011 or visit URIs crabapple website at www.uri.edu/ce/crabapples.
For Information: Larry Englander 874-2933, Todd McLeish 874-7892